StubHub fined $1.3 million for advertising "misleading" ticket prices

Feb 13 2020, 10:46 am

In what it says is an agreement to correct “misleading pricing claims” when it comes to online ticket sales for events, Canada’s Competition Bureau announced today that StubHub will pay a $1.3 million penalty for these practices.

On Thursday, the Bureau said it determined in an investigation that “StubHub advertised tickets at unattainable prices on its websites, mobile apps and in promotional emails to Canadians.”

It also found that “consumers could not buy tickets at advertised prices because StubHub charged consumers mandatory fees in addition to the prices advertised.”

The Bureau noted that unless potential ticket buyers clicked or tapped to turn on optional filters to see prices inclusive of fees, those fees were only revealed at later stages of the purchasing process.

As such, the investigation concluded that providing these optional filters and disclosing fees later in the process “did not prevent the initial prices from being misleading.”

Moreover, the Bureau found that, in some cases, consumers who filtered results to see inclusive pricing were still asked to pay more than the prices shown as inclusive of fees.

Now, as part of the agreement with the Competition Tribunal, StubHub will ensure that prices for tickets to events in Canada will include all mandatory fees throughout the ticket-purchasing process. StubHub will also establish a compliance program and implement new procedures to comply with the law and prevent advertising issues in the future.

“Prices advertised online for event tickets should reflect the true cost of buying those tickets,” said Canada’s Commissioner of Competition. “The Bureau is committed to challenging false or misleading pricing claims in the digital economy, and reminds all vendors to review their marketing practices.”

StubHub responds

In response to the investigation and decision, StubHub said it believes that a “secure, transparent, and competitive ticket market is in the best interest of consumers” and will “ensure the total purchase price is the default view” from the outset of the ticket-buying experience.

“As the world’s most trusted marketplace, StubHub always puts the fan first,” said Paul Nowosad, General Manager of StubHub Canada. “With a long history of platform innovation, we are once again enhancing the experience for fans from the outset of the purchase process.”

StubHub provides fans with access, in both of Canada’s official languages, to over 10 million live sports, music, and theatre events in more than 40 countries.